NYC Elementary School* To Kids: No More Homework — Go Play!

As a longtime fan of Sara Bennett and her Stop bhaabhkbze
movement, I was thrilled she sent this link today about a Manhattan public school that has decided to ditch homework. Then I was doubly thrilled to see: This is the school my own kids attended! It’s just a few blocks from the Empire State Building — a beacon for the whole country.

Oh, how I remember the joy-crushing homework! Oh how I remember my own school afternoons spent drawing, writing, making coasters out of glue. (A bad idea, as it turned out.)

And as I just wrote to the principal, Jane Hsu: “Less homework means more time for kids to start exploring the city by subway!” DNAInfo’s Heather Holland reports:

KIPS BAY — A public elementary school is abolishing traditional homework assignments and telling kids to play instead — outraging parents who say they may pull their kids out of the school.

Teachers at  P.S. 116 on East 33rd Street have stopped assigning take-home math worksheets and essays, and are instead encouraging students to read books and spend time with their family, according to a letter the school’s principal, Jane Hsu, sent to parents last month.

“The topic of homework has received a lot of attention lately, and the negative effects of homework have been well established,” Hsu wrote in her letter, which was sent home with students.

“They include: children’s frustration and exhaustion, lack of time for other activities and family time and, sadly for many, loss of interest in learning.”

Hsu explained that the school spent more than a year “analyzing studies focused on the effects of traditional homework” and decided that it was more important for the Pre-K through fifth grade students to do activities that “have been proven to have a positive impact on student academic performance and social/emotional development” such as reading at their own pace and playing.

“In fact, you may be surprised to learn that there have been a variety of studies conducted on the effects of homework in the elementary grades and not one of them could provide any evidence that directly links traditional homework practices with current, or even future, academic success.”

Naturally, some parents are already angry. They say they may pull their kids out of the school, or just create homemade homework, as if the sheer onerousness of worksheets is good for the soul and the synapses. We sure have been brainwashed into believing the only way kids learn is by having information shoved into them at pencil point. – L

*My kids’ old school!

Alex Proimos from Sydney, Australia

Homework in grammar school? How quaint!

Homework in grammar school? How very 2014! Photo by Alex Proimos from Sydney, Australia

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80 Responses to NYC Elementary School* To Kids: No More Homework — Go Play!

  1. Earth.W March 5, 2015 at 4:10 pm #

    My children’s primary school changed their homework system over to allow parents to exempt their child from having homework, putting the decision making in the hands of the parent. Parents can also reduce the amount of homework their children receive on talking with their child’s teacher.

    My daughter’s teacher doesn’t believe in homework for young children. In fact, I’m finding that more and more teachers here are against homework for young children and that free play is far better for them but they have to deal with parents who refuse to believe that homework is senseless for young children.

    Full marks to this school you mention.

  2. E March 5, 2015 at 4:30 pm #

    I don’t understand why it has to be 2 extremes…too much homework or none. Is there no middle ground?

    I didn’t grow up in the “too much homework” age, and my recollections about homework are few…I recall where I placed my books when I got home, I can picture myself doing some math work sheets or word definitions or writing a report on a typewriter. I had plenty of time to play too.

    Is reading not considered homework? Is there enough time in school to write drafts and final papers? What about kids who have difficulty (for various reasons) getting things done in school time allotted?

    I find the whole pendulum swinging so strange.

  3. Kate March 5, 2015 at 4:49 pm #

    I don’t mind my kids having homework that is an extension of class work–assignments they weren’t able to finish in class, for example, or prep for a speech or science project. What drives me nuts is that both my boys, in 1st and 4th grade, have folders of homework worksheets that are rarely directly related to the current classwork. My 1st grader gets a weekly homework bundle, and my 4th grader gets a monthly bundle. These are graded for completion, not necessarily for correct work or quality. And the teachers give the same reason–because they need to get used to doing homework because they will have to do it when they are older.

  4. Jessica March 5, 2015 at 5:00 pm #

    I find it amusing that parents are angry about this. I would be fighting to get my kids in this school, not out of it. I can only imagine their thought process to be along the lines of “this is the way it’s always been done” (which is, IMHO, the worst argument ever) so never mind that all of the studies show that there is no benefit to homework until high school, and even then it’s minimal, and never mind that with busy work gone, so too will go the nights of threatening and cajoling these children to complete their worksheets. I had to do it once, as a baby-sitter, to a six-year-old girl. She didn’t care about getting it right, she just wanted it filled out so she could go play and I felt like a horrible person making her sit there and do it. Also, it was clear she didn’t understand the work. The reading, on the other hand, she was happy to do, likely because it was a book she had chosen and wanted to read.

  5. Jessica March 5, 2015 at 5:10 pm #

    @Kate, that’s another one of my most-hated arguments. They have to do it now because they will have to do it when they get older. I helped out in the nursery at my church not long ago for about two months. The nursery leader told me she had been instructed to have the children sit in chairs for the lessons (she was doing it on the floor on a blanket) because they would have to do it once they reached primary. We’re talking children from 18 months to three years old. I made the comment to my husband that if they were ready to sit in chairs and be still for lessons at that age, they would be in primary. It’s like the idea that free-range parenting is us just throwing our kids to the wolves without any preparation. There are certain skills that have to be learned beforehand and for children, free play and social interaction teaches them more about the world and their place in it than anything else.

  6. E March 5, 2015 at 5:10 pm #

    @Kate — I completely agree with that. Supporting tasks makes sense. Not every kid gets concepts at the same rate and in the same way. Homework can be very helpful imo.

    Whenever my kids had to do “book reports”, they usually had a small writing component and then some other thing they had to pick from the list. I called it “the stupid thing” (to my husband) which typically involved me running out for some sort of supply needed that we didn’t have on hand.

  7. deltaflute March 5, 2015 at 5:11 pm #

    Ugh…I’ve never understood the need for homework or hours of classroom work. I live in Canada and got upset when they sent my four year old home work. Apparently this is normal for the five year old set. The only plus side is that they have two recess periods (although if I lived in a Latin American country they have half days of school work and after lunch they come home for free play). But homework? At four? Granted it wasn’t much, but still. What’s the point? Unless your child is struggling with a particular skill and needs some extra practice, I just don’t see the point. Makes me like the charter school system (and alternative school systems) even more.

  8. Christine W. March 5, 2015 at 5:44 pm #

    Wait, what? No more busywork? How will the school make up for all those missed learning opportunities? Next thing you know they’ll be lengthening recess as if kids actually do learn through play. /sarcasm

  9. no rest for the weary March 5, 2015 at 6:15 pm #

    How could any parent do anything but celebrate this initiative?

    The research is clear: homework for elementary school students is detrimental at worst, neutral at best.

    It is NOT beneficial.

    It is stress-inducing, that is all.

    What the actual F, angry parents? You really want to subject your kids to something stressful, unnecessary, and probably detrimental? These are probably the parents who fuss about how dangerous the world is. Classic case of misplaced focus.

  10. no rest for the weary March 5, 2015 at 6:21 pm #

    And: if you want to have all the facts and research at the ready because you are arguing your own case to your own school, read what Alfie Kohn has to say on the subject. His book, “The Homework Myth,” should be required reading for every teacher at every level.

  11. BL March 5, 2015 at 6:26 pm #

    “that’s another one of my most-hated arguments. They have to do it now because they will have to do it when they get older.”

    Yeah, I’m going to have to die some day. I have no intention of ‘practicing’ in the meantime.

  12. Michelle March 5, 2015 at 6:36 pm #

    Hip, hip, hooray! I wish our local elementary school would do this! My kids are homeschooled, but it would be so awesome if their friends had time to play! Instead they get out of school at 4 and pretty much have homework until dark!

  13. ARM March 5, 2015 at 6:40 pm #

    Awesome – I hope this movement will spread by the time my son’s in school. I can’t see any excuse whatsoever for the least bit of homework in the primary grades, and little excuse for any significant amount before high school.

    I used to teach at a private school where we definitely gave too much homework, but strangely, although some parents complained it was too much, just about the same number of parents complained it was too little.

  14. lollipoplover March 5, 2015 at 7:25 pm #

    “The School Leadership Team created a Homework Committee, which did research and found there was “no link between elementary school homework and success in school,” according to the minutes.”

    Exactly. Homework is not for the benefit of the students, but for parents who need to see their kids grasp the material. It IS busywork. I am so grateful my kids rarely have more than 5-10 minutes worth a night in elementary school. Their main focus is on their independent reading before bed. And playing after school with friends.

    As for preparing them for middle and high school workloads, my son is in middle school and rarely has homework besides reading and studying for tests. He has an entire period during his school day to complete his assignments (with teachers he can ask for help if he doesn’t understand a concept). He gets all his work done during this free period so he can play basketball and other sports with friends after school.

  15. Laina March 5, 2015 at 7:51 pm #

    Good for them!!

    I was shocked when my kindergartener (my oldest) started bringing home a homework pack every Monday night starting in mid-October. It had never even crossed my mind that a child in K would have homework. Granted it’s not really difficult or time consuming but I don’t understand why they have to have homework for each night of the week and the weekend at that age. If it was one or two nights a week where they were asked to read or the parents were asked to help the kids with something they’re struggling with in class then I wouldn’t have a problem with it, but I do think there’s enough time with full day kindergarten for the kids to work on beginning addition or sight words.

    What’s worse with my son is that he was so excited to get up and go to school each day before he started having homework every night and now he doesn’t want to get up for school in the mornings. He complains about having to do his homework in the evenings because he’s just done with school by then. He’s burnt out by the time he comes home from school at 4:15pm. He should be able to play until dinner time and then again until bath and bed with a few light chores through the week. I really feel for the kids whose evenings are scheduled with activities every night. Those poor kids probably don’t get dinner until late and then are stuck with homework until bath and bed (late getting to bed too I’m betting). In my son’s school it’s 10 min. of homework per night per grade starting with kindergarten, so a 5th grader gets approx. 1 hour of homework each evening. Imagine if that child has dance class or basketball practice after school and doesn’t get home until 6pm or later, eats a late dinner and then has to do an hour of homework before bedtime. No time for reading for fun or playing outside or doing worthwhile chores that helps them learn to be independent.

  16. Laina March 5, 2015 at 7:57 pm #


    The children at my son’s elementary school (K-5) often have lessons where they sit on the floor (criss cross applesauce). They never force the kids to sit in chairs the entire school day. Often there’s pictures of the kids standing up to do fun assignments as well. Young children should never be expected to sit for hours at a time, especially at preschool age!

  17. Cindy March 5, 2015 at 8:42 pm #

    Our school doesn’t have homework either. It’s a hybrid model (part traditional classroom and part homeschool). I love when my kids come home and shoot hoops outside or take off on their bikes. They didn’t have time to play at the public school they previously attended. We love our school!

  18. Vanessa March 5, 2015 at 9:31 pm #

    I can see “They need to get used to it” as an argument for having high schoolers practice writing papers and other things they’ll do in college, but there you’re talking about something that they’re going to need to do in the very near future, at a developmental level that’s basically the same as their current one. The difference between a 16-year-old high school junior and an 18-year-old college freshman is nothing compared to the difference between a 5-year-old and a 12-year-old.

  19. Sandi March 5, 2015 at 9:59 pm #

    Hooray!! I was stunned when I found out that my kids had homework starting in kindergarten. Kindergarten! One of the reasons I pulled my kids out and started homeschooling. Their friends who are in school never have time to get together and play because they are so busy with all their structured activities, tutors, and homework. They are completely booked from early morning to bed time. Crazy. I hope more schools will do this. The children have no time to be children.

  20. Coccinelle March 5, 2015 at 10:57 pm #

    It’s good to hear. I hope this will spread like wildfire. The bad memories I have of my homework days are so bad that it’s the biggest reason I’m reluctant to send my kids to school. So much stress. So many tears.

  21. Anna March 6, 2015 at 3:15 am #

    I see no problem with homework, if it’s carefully thought out rather than just busy work. We get better at things by practicing them. And it’s a true test of whether the student understands the material. Of course, that only works if the kids do it themselves, without parental involvement, which you can’t reasonably expect of most children at age 5 or 6. But 7 or 8? I don’t see why not. Isn’t this part of what free range parenting is about, letting kids be independent and do things for themselves?

    As for kids not having enough free time, the real problem here is that the school day itself is way too long. The three R should be enough in the lower grades, plus an occasional art/music/gym class once a week. In many countries, including the one I was growing up in, the school day ends around noon for children under the age of 9; 1 or 2 P.M. at the latest for 9-10-year-olds. Now, when school is not an all day long affair, homework makes much more sense. Of course, in those countries, parents are not expected to be home with their school aged children, so the question of “who looks after the children between the end of the school day and the end of the work day” doesn’t really exist.

  22. Suzanne Lucas March 6, 2015 at 5:52 am #

    When my daughter was in first grade, they received a packet of homework every Monday that was due on Friday. At a meeting with the principal, the principal said, flat out, “We only give homework because the parents demand it. There’s no evidence it helps in the early grades.”

    Right after she finished this sentence, three mothers raised their hands and asked for MORE homework for their first graders. And then another asked why she wasn’t getting the homework back, corrected, because how could she know how her child was doing? (Now, as a mother of a kid in a school that isn’t taught in my native language, that question might make sense, but English was this mother’s native language and the school was taught in English).

    My response? I just started throwing the homework packets away.

    Now my son is in grade 1 in a different school system. He has 15 minutes of homework every day. I have him do it for two reasons. 1. it’s in German and it’s good for ME to learn the basics (I speak conversantly, but there’s a lot of vocabulary I don’t have) and 2. He only has half days of school 3 days a week, so he gets a lot less school than his sister did in grade 1.

  23. Katie March 6, 2015 at 6:57 am #

    Being a homeschool parent, I’ll say up front I’m looking at this only from a sideline point of view, but I’m definitely glad to see a trend away from the worst of it. Some things have to be practiced, such as math facts and spelling words, and if children are having trouble, then they should do that! Otherwise- well, homework should definitely be minimal and be prepping for the next class.

  24. Christina March 6, 2015 at 7:42 am #

    Good for that school! My kids went to a Montessori program for preschool and kindergarten, so it was a shock to get homework packets in 1st grade. It averaged out to 6 worksheets per day, including weekends. Absolutely nuts. I had my kids do their spelling words and a few math problems and sent the rest of the packet back each week with a note explaining that I had done the research, and that my kids would not be doing useless busywork when they needed to be playing.

    For the holiday break, the homework packets were novella-thick and came with a note that said “we never stop working!” My response to that one was significantly less diplomatic.

  25. Emily March 6, 2015 at 8:03 am #

    >>I don’t understand why it has to be 2 extremes…too much homework or none. Is there no middle ground?<<

    I can see a few reasons:

    1. Since the homework situation has been at the "too much" end of the spectrum for so long, I think "no homework at all" is something of an experiment, to see if the students do better without any homework at all. Homework might be phased in gradually later on, but this could be sort of a "detox" period.

    2. A "reasonable amount of homework" is subject to a lot of interpretation. Reading one chapter of a book, or finishing one page of math problems, or making a diorama of the solar system (the latter as a longer-term project) could indeed be reasonable for the child who reads well, has no learning disabilities, and lives in a house with a cupboard full of art supplies, and attentive, supportive parents. However, it might be a big problem for the child with dyslexia, or dyscalculia, or ADHD, or the child from a low-income family whose parents work multiple jobs just to keep the lights on, and food on the table, or the child with divorced parents who has to remember to bring school supplies, and projects in various states of completion, back and forth between each parent's house. So, eliminating homework puts everyone on an even playing field, because that way, everyone does their schoolwork at school, with equal access to resources and support.

    3. Daily homework might present a problem for the child who's involved in even one or two different extra-curricular activities per week. Although school is important, it shouldn't preclude kids from, say, taking swimming or violin lessons, which are both educational (and swimming is a necessary skill for safety), and it shouldn't leave kids without any downtime. Many adults' jobs don't require them to take work home, and it's reasonable for an adult to want to keep their work lives and their personal lives separate, and yet, when a child wants the same thing, that child is called "lazy."

    4. Eliminating homework might be a way to encourage more free play, especially outside. During the winter months, there aren't a lot of daylight hours left after school, so any amount of homework is going to cut into that.

  26. lollipoplover March 6, 2015 at 8:21 am #

    One aspect of the homework I actually like is reading responses for the older elementary students. They are not assignments, just post-it note thoughts about their independent reading. Making predictions about the plot, characters, and just random thoughts about what they’re reading have made all of my kids stronger and more adventurous readers.
    No worksheets, they just talk over their thoughts with their reading groups in school.
    Our school has also cut down dramatically (maybe because they realized the parents at are the ones doing the work) on big projects. They do them only at school.
    My kids have a ton of playtime…especially with another snow day(4 this week!) Having time to pursue their own interests makes them happier learners who actually enjoy school, not dread it.

  27. E March 6, 2015 at 8:39 am #

    @Emily — I appreciate the response. If we’re talking about Elem school kids, it’s 1 teacher assigning the homework, so it seems quite simple to put limits on how much they can assign. They know if they have them 15-30 mins of homework (vs multiple teachers assigning that amount).

    I also agree that projects that requires special supplies are a pain for parents.

    I just don’t see how 15-30 minutes of homework now and then will somehow create an issue for kids playing or doing extracurriculars.

    Since we all reflect on our FR childhoods (I definitely had one), I can reflect on being a FR kid AND having a bit of homework or report writing or spelling words or whatever. I played sports, was in the school band starting in 4th grade (had to turn in practice logs for that too!) and survived w/o feeling overcome with stress.

  28. E March 6, 2015 at 8:42 am #

    @Emily — I appreciate the response. If we’re talking about Elem school kids, it’s 1 teacher assigning the homework, so it seems quite simple to put limits on how much they can assign. They know if they have them 15-30 mins of homework (vs multiple teachers assigning that amount).

    I also agree that projects that requires special supplies are a pain for parents.

    I just don’t see how 15-30 minutes of homework now and then will somehow create an issue for kids playing or doing extracurriculars.

    Since we all reflect on our FR childhoods (I definitely had one), I can reflect on being a FR kid AND having a bit of homework or report writing or spelling words or whatever. I played sports, was in the school band starting in 4th grade (had to turn in practice logs for that too!) and survived w/o feeling overcome with stress.

    Why are you comparing adults to kids though? There are thousands of things that differ between kids and adults. I have no clue why comparing a full time job to elementary school is the least bit relevant. It would be like me comparing an Elem student and a College student (with hours of homework/studying), it’s irrelevant.

  29. E March 6, 2015 at 8:43 am #

    sorry about the 2 posts, I got an error the first time

  30. Crystal March 6, 2015 at 9:15 am #

    An educator with common sense?! Clone them! And I’ve dealt with the “do it now because they’ll do it when they get older” idiocy as well. In England, kids can start school at the age of 2. When I first registered my 4-year-old (positively ancient by their standards) the head lady told me he had the options of purchasing uniforms. When I asked why little kids who get all kinds of dirty would need to waste money on uniforms, she said “Because it gets them used to wearing uniforms for when they’re older.” Okay, then.

  31. Coasterfreak March 6, 2015 at 10:19 am #

    While I don’t see anything wrong with *some* homework (especially if it’s only a class assignment that didn’t get finished during class), I applaud the school for doing away with homework.

    My personal experience was this: Starting in first grade, I would have small homework assignments a couple of nights a week. This continued through fourth grade, and really wasn’t a big deal. In fifth grade I had a teacher who assigned homework in every subject, every night, and extra assignments for the weekends. And they weren’t small assignments, either. I spent all night, every night, and a good portion of my weekends doing homework.

    Homework was also his punishment of choice, and he figured that the best way to keep a kid in line was to punish the entire class if one person acted up. Usually the punishment homework was something like 50 long division problems, or writing all spelling words 100 times, on top of the rest of the homework. We had punishment homework a couple of times a week. My parents finally got fed up with that and told him I would not be doing any of the punishment homework unless I was the one who acted up (I never did).

    This teacher ruined school for me. After his class, I stopped caring about school and learning, and especially about doing homework. From grades 6-12, I continued to have piles of homework assigned nearly every night, and I would refuse to do it, and it was a constant struggle to keep me passing my classes. I barely graduated high school, and never went to college — specifically because I knew that college required lots of study and homework time.

    So I totally agree with the mindset of completing school work in class, and allowing kids the playtime they need outside of school. Just like I agree with the mindset that once I leave work for the day, I don’t work again until the next time I’m scheduled to be in the office. This thing where we’re expected to be answering work related emails, text messages and phone calls 24 hours a day is absurd. I’m an IT manager, and the only tech employed by my company, and the only time I do ANY work outside my regular hours is if a server crashes.

  32. Emily March 6, 2015 at 10:57 am #

    >>I just don’t see how 15-30 minutes of homework now and then will somehow create an issue for kids playing or doing extracurriculars.<<

    Well, I don't work at this school that's phasing out the homework (since living in Canada would make for a rather long commute), but I'm thinking that the school might have eliminated homework altogether (at least for the time being) because it can be difficult for someone who's proficient at something, to accurately gauge how long that thing will take, for someone who's still learning. I had a high school math teacher (in both grade nine and grade eleven) who was notorious for this–he'd assign a "simple, quick" homework assignment that'd take me hours. He'd take up the homework the next day, and say, "Nobody should have had problems with anything before question number six," and then brush me off if I said, "Actually, I got stuck on number three." Without meaning to, he could really make people feel stupid. I also had a theory prof in university who was the same way. He was much more socially aware, so he didn't make anyone feel stupid, per se, but he'd set an exam, and then do it himself as if he was one of us, and then he'd tell us, "This only took me two hours, so it shouldn't take you more than three." The only problem with that was, he had a Doctorate in musical composition, and we were all in our second year of our Bachelor's degrees. Likewise, I can see some elementary school teachers (especially newer ones) not remembering what it was like to be six years old, and struggling to remember which way all the letters face, and not having the same ability as an adult to cope with frustration, and being faced with a "simple, quick" spelling worksheet or whatever, to be completed as homework, after a full day of school. I know that a day of school isn't as long as a 9-5 workday, but these are kids–by the end of that school day, many of them have come to the end of their ability to sit still and focus on schoolwork (let alone schoolwork that might be difficult for them), and I'm glad that this particular school has recognized that.

  33. ExTeacher March 6, 2015 at 11:14 am #

    How much homework do these kids really get? The rule I always followed as a classroom teacher was that the maximum amount of homework should correspond in “minutes x 10” to the child’s grade level. For example, a first-grader should have no more than 10 minutes; a third-grader, no more than 30 minutes.

    Homework, when given for the right reasons, does have some benefits for a child’s education, but not necessarily in terms of the subject matter itself. The primary benefit is that the child learns to work independently and be responsible for their own learning, which means the best homework is either a simple factual review of material learned in class, or a creative, open-ended “extension” of classwork. Additionally, it should be something the child is capable of completing on their own, with minimal supervision or assistance. There’s nothing worse than frustrating the kid *and* the parent with some idiotic “new math” worksheet.

    That being said, I’m all in favor of cutting back homework to the bare minimum and letting the kids out to play. Hope the kids and parents take advantage of this freedom to *actually* go out and play, and not sit inside watching the TV or playing video games.

  34. slb March 6, 2015 at 11:28 am #

    This would be AMAZING if it caught on! I actually don’t mind a little bit of homework, like reading/short book reports, or things they didn’t finish in class, etc. But the busywork is just a waste of time. After sitting in school all day, kids need to decompress, just like adults do after a long work day.

    Also, besides the worksheets that come home every day, it is the computer programs that drive me crazy. I have three kids in elementary school, each with several programs they are supposed to log into from home (so many passwords and logins to keep track of!!) and work on for a certain amount of time per day. We have ONE family computer… In the beginning it was my understanding that these programs are optional, but we are constantly getting notes home that the kids “should” be working on these. I do not require my kids to do them, unless they want to. If I were to make it mandatory, the computer would be monopolized with this “homework” for the entire evening, with no time for other activities.

  35. Jess March 6, 2015 at 11:30 am #

    Mark Keppell, in Glendale, is doing away with homework this year (just as my daughter starts Kindergarten). I am BEYOND delighted!!!
    SO happy for her. Personally, as a kid, I would get all A’s on tests, but never did my homework (it never occurred to my partners to sit down with me to help). Because they took a point away for every homework not done, I was a straight C/D student. High IQ. Never went to college. School ruined me for institutional learning. Hoping for a different outcome for my daughter.

  36. no rest for the weary March 6, 2015 at 11:40 am #

    Oh, I have to jump back in here to say YES to the resistance of “They have to do things like this eventually, so they might as well start now,” and YES to the rejection of “This should only take 10 or 20 minutes” when actually, it takes 10 or 20 minutes to just convince the kid to sit down and try it, 10 or 20 minutes to get through the tears of frustration halfway through (which took 20 minutes), and then 20 minutes the next morning trying to convince the kid to want to go back to school when they’ve been so utterly turned off by the pressure and invasion into their downtime at home with family.

    Homework is a non-issue with three of my four kids. I never hear the word. Perhaps they get it all done at school, perhaps it’s not assigned. I don’t know. It’s not my issue, it’s theirs.

    I have one child, though, who hates rote work and worksheets, doesn’t do well focusing on those types of activities in school, and then has to take it home to do it when all she’d like to do is FINALLY have her own time, to dream, to create, to learn HER way, but we’ve got the black cloud of busywork (that didn’t engage her in the first place while at school) raining all over her relaxation time.

    All this from a school where there are only nine or ten kids in a class with one teacher. You’d think this teacher could manage to work with the kid more flexibly and figure out how to tick off the curriculum completion boxes without subjecting her to xeroxed worksheets that she developed an allergy to in kindergarten, because she was denied recess and playtime as a punishment for not finishing them.

    Oh, my, GOD. Any parent who insists on homework for their young child is operating under some kind of enormous delusion. I have begged and pleaded with my daughter’s teachers over the years to STOP and let her be. She doesn’t disrupt class, she’s just a creative dreamer. LET HER BE. And for the love of all that is holy, don’t send the work she didn’t enjoy HOME with her to poison the one place where she can just relax and enjoy herself.

    She’s a CHILD. Let her grow and rest and play and ENJOY her life!

  37. E March 6, 2015 at 12:13 pm #

    @Jess, I have a kid like that. Doesn’t like a bunch of little tasks but does well on tests. Always got lower grades in classes (I’m talking HS) where there were a lot of assignments. BUT, you know what? That’s now how every kid is. I have a kid that did BETTER with repetition and his grades were HELPED by non-test grades.

    So people struggle with the pressure of tests and time limits for them, but participate in class and benefit from the assignments and/or homework.

    @no rest for weary — I am 1 of 6 kids who grew up with homework, I have 2 kids of my own who had homework when they were in school. I never witnessed that kind of difficulty in doing homework. Complaints? Sure. If an elementary school kids can’t carve out 20 minutes between 3pm and bedtime…sorry just not buying it.

    “Invasion of downtime”? I’m sorry, that just seem melodramatic. Kids have chores that I’m sure they’d consider an invasion of their downtime, but parents still ask them to do them.

    I am ALL FOR kids getting outside and playing independently, I am ALL FOR schools reigning in 30 lb book bags and hours of homework, but I refuse to believe reasonable homework and free play are mutually exclusive. Everyone I knew growing up did both.

  38. Emily March 6, 2015 at 12:20 pm #

    Oh this is very good. Playing and being active is so important for kids – loads more beneficial than doing homework.

    I’d also encourage children to read daily – not loads, but a bit every day – and perhaps learn a musical instrument. I’d support the occasional piece of work to take home as a special project, but it should be exceptional and infrequent, not the norm.

    For the parents concerned about homework, talking to your kids about the world would be loads better than making them mark up a worksheet. I think many families these days simply don’t do enough talking together.

  39. Nadine March 6, 2015 at 12:37 pm #

    Homework humbug!

    Im in the Netherlands and I dont know of any children that have daily homework assignments. Appart from a show and tell or a first paper ” my pet rabbit” where you have to collect information from the library and the net. And with reason!

  40. E March 6, 2015 at 12:40 pm #

    I’ve read the link. It includes this:

    [/i]According to the minutes, the group became worried last year because so many kids were forced to sit out at recess after failing to turn in their daily homework assignments.[/i]

    So, let’s get this straight. The SCHOOL endorsed punishing kids while they were in school, rather than just altering the policy about recess. And now they are telling parents that kids should play more? Does this even make sense?

  41. Emily March 6, 2015 at 12:47 pm #

    I think the “should have finished that during class time” argument is just a spin-off of the “this should only take 15 or 20 minutes” argument. My high school math teacher in grades nine and eleven was notorious for that too–he’d assign us something “to finish in class,” and when nobody could do it, it became homework; sometimes on top of a separate homework assignment for the day. I also wouldn’t put chores on the same level of “invasion of downtime” as homework, because doing chores is part of being a member of a family, so it’s internal, and because, if a child, say, loads and starts the dishwasher after dinner, then everyone in the family, including that child, will benefit by having clean dishes at breakfast the next morning. Writing out vocab words, or solving for X, or making yet another model or poster or diorama, is only useful for the purposes of grading, and the models and posters and dioramas can become a huge hassle to store, especially for families with multiple children in school.

  42. Kenny Felder March 6, 2015 at 1:01 pm #

    There’s plenty of room for a middle ground here. I would like to see a 3rd or 4th grader having 15 minutes of homework a day. It doesn’t have to be soul-crushingly dull. One of my kids had an assignment to describe a different beautiful thing in nature–in writing–every day. But it’s not a bad idea to develop the ability to do work “even when you don’t feel like it.” On the other hand, the hours and hours of tedious deskwork that so many kids are getting at an earlier and earlier age…that is crushing and pointless and damaging.

  43. Donna March 6, 2015 at 1:09 pm #

    E – I remember having homework and still having free play time, but I went home every day at the end of school. That is not reality for the vast majority of children today. Young children are sent to after school programs so that mom can work and don’t get home until the evening. Then it is dinner, homework, bath and bed. Where exactly is the free play time?

    I am not anti-homework and my kid actually likes doing hers most of the time. That said, on Wednesday this semester my daughter went from school directly to the YMCA (where she goes a couple days a week so I can work full time without a billion interruptions) and didn’t get home until after 5. She then went to gymnastics from 6-7. She barely had time to breathe, let alone do both free play and homework. We were able to alter our schedule after this semester so that she doesn’t go to the Y on the same day as gymnastics, but I work for myself and can do this, many working parents can’t. This is the reality of life for millions of young children each day.

    Sometimes we get so hyped up on defeating the arguments of “it’s different today,” that we ignore the ways in which life truly is different today. Stay home parents are not the norm today and even the most free range kids still need after school care for the early years of elementary school. If homework doesn’t help (and I don’t really think it does until older grades), then why are we giving it to so many already overtaxed kindergarteners?

  44. E March 6, 2015 at 1:09 pm #


    You don’t think that practicing math or spelling/vocab words has any value outside of grades?

    I have a child who talks about how learning to discern between “b” and “d” , using the tool his teacher gave him (the word “bed”, the “b” is the head board and the “d” is the foot board”) was how he got used to using each letter correctly. He’s probably a bit dyslexic (something he realized himself much later in life), so practicing was very helpful.

  45. Reziac March 6, 2015 at 1:12 pm #

    We don’t expect adults to come home from work and do another 6 hours of work, do we? But that’s exactly what’s being expected of kids, with all this piled-on homework (and every teacher assigns it like theirs is the child’s only class).

    I grew up in a school system that was consistently in the top 1% nationwide. The only homework we had in grade school was the quarterly book report. By junior high, there was some homework for math and English, but nothing that couldn’t be done in a single study hall (non-class period). By high school, a little more depending on what classes one took. But never so much that it couldn’t be done in study hall and perhaps the 20 minutes of free time before the first class of the day. In other words, perhaps 20 minutes per class per day, most of which got done in study hall. (I never brought home any textbooks, and I was an honors student, but not exceptional in this school system.)

    Research finds that kids don’t learn while studying. Studying piles up the data, but doesn’t process it. Kids do their real learning while they’re “wasting time”. That’s when their brains organize the data input — ie. when their brains sort out the day’s input so they can make use of it. Kids without enough downtime were essentially prevented from learning what they’d studied. All work and no play quite literally makes Johnny a dull boy.

    Adding more and more homework is like if you kept bringing in firewood but never paused to stoke the stove — pretty soon the fire goes out and just bringing in ever more firewood still won’t heat the house.

  46. E March 6, 2015 at 1:20 pm #

    @Donna my kids were YMCA kids too. They had the option to do homework as part of the program. One of my kids liked to do that, one of them did not. Your point is valid, but I don’t think that’s mentioned as part of the reasoning given in what’s been posted.

    To me there are lots of ways of addressing the valid issues, and the school could start by NOT punishing the kids by taking away recess. They could allow flexibility or passes for occasional incompletions. They could de-emphasize the impact on grades.

    For purposes of the parent reaction..there will ALWAYS be extremes to any school decision. I can look at the reactions for things related to all the weather issues here. Schools closed too early, too late, school makeup days impacted spring break! school make up days extended the year! school on saturday! school on good friday!

    Ignoring the extremes, there are probably some parents and kids who feel like their child was helped by practice. We all know our kids, I have one that would have been fine w/o homework. I would have been concerned about the other.

  47. E March 6, 2015 at 1:21 pm #

    @Reziac, how do you explain college and the requirements as they relate to studying?

    Why are people comparing kids to adults? Why are we comparing education to a job? It’s not the same thing.

  48. DMG March 6, 2015 at 1:21 pm #

    This is super! Kids don’t need any more work after school. We are not home until 6:00-6:30. My child is typically in bed by 8:00-8:30(I work and he is in afterschool). This leaves at most 2 hours at home to eat, have down time and get ready for bed. He doesn’t need to do anymore worksheets, write down his wall words ten times, or anything. Homework is this setting the table for dinner, putting your clothes and toys away, etc. All he needs to do at 630, is relax, eat, play and go to bed!

  49. Emily Morris March 6, 2015 at 1:23 pm #

    I have absolutely no memory of true homework during my school years. Oh, there were sometimes reading minutes and of course unfinished school work, but I don’t recall any true homework.

    I hate to admit it, but as a second grade teacher I do assign homework, though I’m seriously thinking of asking if this is part of our school’s requirement. As it is, I don’t think I give much. I announce the spelling words for the week and a reminder about reading (our school does require 20 minutes of daily reading) and a math page.

    I don’t know if it’s actually helping or if it’s just a big habit.

  50. Emily Morris March 6, 2015 at 1:25 pm #


    I’ve volunteered in my church’s nursery as well. They throw some fabric dots on the floor and teach the kids to sit on those for that 5 minute lesson and the singing time. Works wonders.

  51. Warren March 6, 2015 at 1:40 pm #

    Best homework ever was our Gr. 11 English. Miss. Holly, who was aprox. 100 yrs old back then would assign us to watch whatever Star Trek episode that was being shown. We did this once a week, and would discuss the episode in class, as to what social message was trying to be said by the writers, and the comparison to Shakespearean Theatre.

    A lot of people never realized the influence of Shakespearean Theatre had on the series. As well as the number of actors that made their name in the franchise that had their roots in Shakespeare.

    Homework is good in some instances, when it is trying to encourage working independantly, teaching research skills and time management. But homework for the sake of homework is just plain wrong.

  52. Emily March 6, 2015 at 1:44 pm #

    @E–I learned vocabulary words, reading, spelling, et cetera as a kid, but it was more through being read to when I was little, reading on my own when I learned how, writing stories, et cetera, and not from rote memorization and worksheets. I did those things in school, because I had to, but I don’t remember actually learning much from it.

  53. DMG March 6, 2015 at 2:01 pm #

    I have a question for all the teachers. How do you define reading at home at night? Is it grabbing your favorite book and curling up on the couch? Does following a recipe and preparing a meal from it count or what about reading the directions to a game and figuring out how to play it? Also for everyone commenting on having kids read for x amount of minutes every night? Do you read for 20 minutes every night or simply request that the children do it? What about the kid who hates reading for pleasure, but has a passion for building things or drawing or something else? Perhaps their time would be better spent on doing something they enjoy rather than having them spend time on something they don’t like.

  54. E March 6, 2015 at 2:13 pm #

    I would have no way of knowing if I learned to spell because I was read to, learning to read, or because I was given spelling words. It was all a part of of my educational experience.

    One of the projects I recall my children doing as part of ‘homework’ (since it would be impossible otherwise) was to interview a relative, I think it had to be a woman. One of my kids interviewed one grandmother, the other the other grandmother. They had a list of things to ask them about their childhood, their education, about their first jobs, about their role models (interestingly they both picked Eleanor Roosevelt) and various other things. It was such a WONDERFUL project because it wove history into something real for them, it was communication skills since they had to conduct the interview, it included writing (obviously) and required them to compare/contrast their relatives life to their own.

    CLEARLY, there is a risk of pointless busy work. No defense of that.

    Maybe my kids just had some good, reasonable Elem teachers.

  55. Eric S March 6, 2015 at 2:30 pm #

    If memory serves me correctly, this is what elementary school was like for my generation. There was still homework, but not the crazy amount imposed on 5-8 year olds these days. Also, I’m pretty sure many of these parents who are up in arms about this decision, are the ones who live vicariously through their kids. They have to be the best at everything, failure is not an option, they want them to be lawyers or doctors. So when you peel away the layers of reasoning, it all boils down to the parents and how they look and feel towards society. They use their children to make themselves feel better.

    Everything in moderation. Not sacrificing one thing to gain more of another. Balance is the key to a well balance kid. Who in turn grows up to be a well adjusted young adult. Who then turns into a relatively happy, caring, confident, intelligent, and successful adult.

  56. Dee March 6, 2015 at 2:46 pm #

    So jealous! We would spend HOURS on homework starting in K/1 through about 4/5. Yes, HOUR. My son has ADHD and it was painful for both of us. Since I work full-time, that means those hours started at about 5:30pm – way too late for a normal family who needs to fix dinner and prep for bedtime. It was excruciating.

    At various times, I had teachers who said to stop after X minutes (10 mins per grade) but that meant very few got done and for some teachers the work still had to get done…so while he was not dinged for not having it the next day, he was still expected to finish it before the end of the quarter. One “lovely” teacher put post-it notes in every page he had missed and expected them to be complete by the end of the quarter. It was dreadful.

    Things got better in 5th when he repeated the grade and had much more accommodating teachers. So long as he was learning the material (and he was) we were cool. In middle school, he actually has LESS homework than in elementary (and now I wish he had a little more so long as it was really helpful homework). I still don’t like when he gets graded negatively for not completing homework or, i a recent assignment, you got an A for getting a 75% and an F for less than that.

    Research shows it’s not effective. What is more effective is telling kids: go home and discuss this with your family and come back tomorrow with your thoughts (social studies or science). Or pick out a book (any book) you like and read! Or read something on topic and come back and share what you learned. Or help your parents with dinner (if they are not too stressed!) and use measuring cups!

  57. E March 6, 2015 at 2:59 pm #

    @Eric S, I agree with what you have written.

    I agree the parents quoted are the extremes, but I wouldn’t be so quick to dismiss the idea that some parents have valid concerns about how homework might be helping their child. As I said, I would have been unconcerned with 1 child, and concerned with another.

  58. Al Benson Jr. March 6, 2015 at 3:06 pm #

    When we home schooled our kids I never game them homework. I always figured that if they couldn’t learn the work from the assigned lessons then the homework wouldn’t be much help. Assigning a kid 100 math problems plus other subjects to do for homework always seemed to me like overkill.

  59. Jennifer March 6, 2015 at 3:14 pm #

    My son attends PS116 and the brought home a “Homework Bingo”. He can pick which 1 box (he used to have at least 3 assignments- including reading for 30 minutes a day) he wants to complete and over the course of a few weeks he tries to get a “bingo”. OK good and bad.
    Good: Many kids are Overscheduled and with Chess, Tae Kwon Do, Tennis and every other after school activity, I get it. Spend the 30 minutes with your family instead of homework OR just don’t over program your kids!
    Bad: My son refused to do more then 1 box! He wrote a 5 lined poem about snow and he was off to the iPad. How am I supposed to have him go above and beyond when the school is telling my son, average to below average is OK.
    I think they should assign the homework THEN assign Extra credit homework and kids can get points to be used for a missed assignment at another time. So of you really have soccer every Wed. do extra homework on Tues.

  60. ezrazoe March 6, 2015 at 4:51 pm #

    this is so exciting ! how can we get the academically aggressive school in our neighborhood of JHts to do this too? It’s interesting to hear this:

    “A Department of Education spokesman said the city does not have an overarching homework policy, so principals and teachers can use their discretion in assigning homework.” from Making me a whole lot less stressed about finishing the huge piles of PS69 homework this spring as the weather improves.

  61. Emily Morris March 6, 2015 at 4:57 pm #

    DMG, in my teaching experience I counted 20 minutes of reading as 20 minutes of reading. I don’t care what and I don’t care if it means a child is being read to.

    I agree that it would probably be best for a child to be something that interests him more than reading he hates, but there is evidence for the 20 minutes of daily reading.

  62. Owen Allen March 6, 2015 at 5:04 pm #

    The education of children is the one field in which everyone believes they are an expert. Teachers get more flack for doing the best job than anyone would consider the advice given by their doctor, engineer, or plumber. If there is any criticism can be laid, educational institutions and policies that are formulated by the vociferous input from lawyers, doctors, engineers and politicians are skewed towards the aspirations of 20% (a liberal figure in my mind) of the school population. I continue to be amazed by the public negligence towards the evidence in education. if it happened in medicine there would be deaths, furor, commissions, prison sentences. Yet, the longer term detriments of an inadequate childhood learning are possibly more significant in terms of economics, scientific developments and innovations, social capital building, community development, health, – the list can go on. We want a new world but we are unprepared to use a new strategy.

  63. martha donnelly March 6, 2015 at 9:03 pm #

    NYC free range people really need to read this book, which I remember loving as an 11 yr. old. If only the world was still like this.

  64. SOA March 6, 2015 at 10:22 pm #

    Good. I am sickened by the amount of homework assigned to my 7 year olds. My advanced 7 year old can do it in about 30 minutes mostly alone. My ASD son has to have me sitting right next to him the entire time and it takes 45 minutes to an hour every night. And that is with him often not even doing all of it since his IEP states he can do 50% or more and be counted as complete.

    If I had a job or a small infant no way would I be able to do that every night. I am having a hard time doing it now being a SAHM with no young kids. Forget cooking fancy intensive meals though. I can’t have time to have dinner on the table at 5 with a complex meal and still spend that hour after school doing homework. They get home at 3:10 and I have till 5 to have dinner ready, have homework done, clear out their backpacks for any important papers and clear out their lunchboxes and sign anything I have to sign etc.

    I think elementary kids should just have reading homework and maybe like study spelling words. That is it. It should not take more than 30 minutes and should be something they can do mostly alone.

    My parents never sat down with me to do homework. I handled it 100% alone unless it was a big project. Now teachers send home parent homework that requires, signatures, us to check it, us to help them do internet research since they are not old enough to do that alone, help them type stuff or assemble and make projects, have to take them to stores to buy stuff for projects with often not a lot of notice.

    Its ridiculous. I already graduated school. I don’t want to do it. I would rather take my kids to the park, the zoo, a playdate, go see a movie, go to a museum, go for a walk, etc but we have no time to do any of that since they started school. Arranging a playdate with their friends is practically impossible since everyone has so much homework and don’t have time to come play.

    Its ridiculous and is just going to burn out children out on learning. Plus it makes a bunch of kids that never free play and get fresh air and exercise.

  65. SOA March 6, 2015 at 10:31 pm #

    Oh yeah and at their school if you don’t complete the work- the kids have to stand at recess 5 minutes and then get it sent back home to do again the next night along with the new homework. The worst part about that is what about these kids whose parent’s wont help for whatever reason? Is that really fair to punish them? If their parent refuses to sign the reading log they won’t get credit. Well how is that the child’s fault?

    My mom taught me in 9th grade to sign her signature and told me I had permission to sign the reading log for her and any other papers. She thought reading logs were stupid considering her daughter read so many books she could barely afford to keep buying them for me.

  66. sexhysteria March 7, 2015 at 1:46 am #

    Doesn’t the International Convention on Human Rights already outlaw torture?

  67. Dhewco March 7, 2015 at 7:39 am #

    Hmmm, the problem with people assigning time values to homework is that kids are different and work at different levels. I was a pretty smart kid (beta club until I fell into profound depression my senior year) and teachers would tell me that my HW should only take a certain number of minutes. I ended up taking at least twice as long as they told me it should take me. Even when my parents would force me to turn off the tube and told me to focus, I still had trouble doing that. (I’m contrary in that I need noise to focus. I write better, do math better, and think better when there’s background noise.)

    I maintained beta club even though I might have only did about half my homework. I was excellent on tests. If I’d not had homework, I would have been so much better.

  68. Kate March 7, 2015 at 9:59 am #

    I was so excited to see this yesterday. Mine are currently in Pre-K and K and although each has a “homework calendar” they’re really just suggestions of activities you can do at home that tie into what the kids are learning at school so I don’t have a huge issue with them (plus no one is checking to see if anyone is doing them). I’ve already told my husband that “no homework” is the hill I’m going to die on for our kids if/when it gets to be an issue because the research is so clear. My oldest has an IEP so I’m pretty sure I can use that to justify the no homework if the research isn’t enough (rather than have it turn into a huge issue with his teachers) but we’ll see.

  69. Mandy March 7, 2015 at 11:06 am #

    I went to Montessori through 2nd grade and loved school. Public school was awful, and I was a disorganized kid. There was always some worksheet I forgot to bring home, or forgot to turn in. I was good at math, so I refused to do more questions once the problems got repetitive. There was a “superstars” math program (optional) where kids could earn some kind of prizes for doing advanced math and logic problems. That was fun, and I still forgot to turn in the paper, but I didn’t care about the prize, just finding out whether I got the answers and if I didnt, tracking down the error.

    When classes were graded on homework, I never did well, but when graded on tests I got As. This drove my mother crazy–“WHY can you not just do/turn in the homework?!?!?” These days I would have been diagnosed as ADHD/inattentive, probably medicated and turned into a little robot.

    Finally in grad school he homework made sense and was relevant, and I had honor roll grades for the first time in my life.

    Today I work with kids who have learning disabilities, ADHD, autism; and neurotypical kids who have problems using their eyes together. I do assign vision therapy practice and often the parents describe hours and hours of homework for these poor elementary school kids who are getting migranes or seeing double from their vision problems. It is just torture, and then they are too tired to do the work that will actually make it all easier. In this area, parents are expected to be very involved with the homework (my friend told me that for her 2nd grader she has to get the assignments from either the teacher’s email, the class Facebook page, or class Twitter feed, and parents are expected to show up for random class stuff like twice a week– this is crazy), so the homework battle is torture for the whole family.

    I write letters for medical exemption of homework on a regular basis, and am overjoyed every time.

  70. Papilio March 7, 2015 at 4:54 pm #

    Why on earth would you force kids to do homework when it isn’t beneficial anyway??!

    I only got homework in 7th grade and up, and then still in reasonable amounts (and I didn’t have loads of extracurricular activities either). Only exception was for the topography tests in 4th-6th grade, one every couple of weeks. Amazingly, all the kids learned how to read, do math etc etc etc. We just actually learned it IN school, without schools shoving the work off to parents.
    I can see giving some small amount of remedial homework for those kids that need some extra practice in reading or whatever, but if the entire class “needs” to do extra work every single night, I’d think you’re doing something wrong…
    That argument ‘but they’ll have to do it later’ is also just ridiculous. They’ll also have to pay taxes later – start now?
    That said, I did hear last year from my cousin that her then 6th grader had a week task – not a big pile of work, it was rather meant to get them used to having homework at all (the difference between 6th and 7th grade here is huge, so primary schools now try to ease the transition). As long as it stays at that…

  71. SOA March 7, 2015 at 5:57 pm #

    I think at our school it has to do with they want the kids to do well on those tests that determine the teacher’s raises. So they assign lots of work so the parents can do just as much teaching and drilling for that test. I don’t know any parents that complain they don’t give enough homework. I mostly hear bitching about how they give too much homework.

    However the parents at this school has a lot of over achievers keeping up with the joneses types and they go nuts when it comes to school projects. They will do the project for the kid and spend tons of money and hours on it and go above and beyond what was asked to look impressive. I just laugh at them. I do end up having to do most of the work for my kids because its parent work and beyond the actual kid to do it alone-but I don’t go above and beyond. I meet the requirements and the grading rubic and leave it at that. I don’t feel the need to build a giant model when all it required was a simple poster.

  72. Lauren March 7, 2015 at 7:03 pm #

    I’ve been trying to think back to what we did when I was a kid. My mom did flashcards and stuff, but I didn’t really get much homework until 5th or 6th grade. We did most of our learning in class, and had plenty of recess time too. I didn’t even have a backpack! By the time my brother hit 1st grade, he had a full backpack.

  73. David March 8, 2015 at 4:12 am #

    At least one school then where teachers have a faint glimmer of good sense.

    The vast majority of teachers hate and despise children too much to give up anything that might make their lives miserable.

  74. Stephen March 8, 2015 at 8:54 am #

    I think that kids should not be over homeworked to death. I think this is forcing them in front of the computer screen or sitting all day and then at home. Kids need time for play, rest, recreation, leisure, after school activities, family time, relaxation, hobbies, etc. Personally I think the amount of time spent on schoolwork (in school plus homework combined), per week should not exceed:

    * Preschool – Kindergarten: 25-28 hours per week maximum
    * Grades 1-3: 26-30 hours per week maximum
    * Grades 4-5: 28-33 hours per week maximum
    * Grades 6-8: 32-36 hours per week maximum
    * Grades 9-12: 35-40 hours per week maximum

    I also think homework if assigned should supplement what is taught in class, not be new material. Additionally, it should be done in a way that does not expect parents to be tutors, and additional costs to the family should be minimized (not every parent can afford expensive materials, computers, or fancy devices). If a child is struggling or cannot complete the work at home easily in a timely manner, the school should be required to provide tutoring, support, modified assignments, or allow the child to complete the assignment during school hours for that child.

    Additionally, vacation periods should be free of homework and should be true vacations for the children. No schoolwork, homework, et al should be assigned while a child is on vacation.

    Next, if a child wishes to attend an after school function that requires significant time commitments, the school should provide an accommodation to modify the homework schedule if needed to allow a child.

    No child should be denied adequate rest, play time, free time, hobbies, after school activities, etc because of homework. At home, family time and child play should be priority items.

  75. SOA March 8, 2015 at 10:59 am #

    I like that idea that if the kid does after school activities they can be given less assignments or maybe extensions on how long they have to complete it.

    I was a dancer as a kid and I dance just about every day after school from 4 to 8 sometimes even 4 to 10 at night. Not a lot of time for HW in there. I did not get most of it done but I still make good grades. I think teachers often did let it slide with me because they knew I was a good student and they knew about the dance.

    I think a kid needs to be well rounded. School is not everything. Colleges and employers want kids who have social skills, which have to be developed from socializing. They want kids with volunteer work, after school jobs, some other kind of skill or talent besides making As in school. These end up the best all around people.

    So kids need time to do karate or dance or cheerleading or volunteer work or babysitting or work at Mcdonalds. Those things teach life skills and lessons just as much as homework. Even socializing and play fit into developing a well rounded person.

    I have to turn down some opportunities for my kids due to the amount of homework and burn out.

  76. m0mof6 March 8, 2015 at 7:26 pm #

    The 10 min per grade sounds reasonable until you get older. For an 11th grader that would be 110 min or just short of 2 hrs. Get up at 6, get ready for school and ride the bus, school from 8-3:30, bus ride until almost 5 (if they don’t have after school activities), their 2 hours of homework until 7, dinner, with age appropriate chores, takes at least an hour so until 8, and a decent bedtime remembering that teens at least 9 hrs of sleep so count back 9 hours from 6 AM and bedtime should be 9. That leaves 1 hr in their day for extra curricular activities, friends or family, a job, etc. Yes, 9 seems early for bedtime but with how early kids (including teens) wake up, they need to get their sleep.

    For the record, my teens (16 & 14) do not get to sleep by 9. They would feel much better if they did but between homework, school activities, friends and family, it never happens. Sometimes they don’t even get home until 10. My 14 yo sometimes needs a nap or will take a “sick” day to rest up when she is feeling run down. My 16 yo does the “normal” teen thing and likes to sleep in on Saturdays.

  77. rhodykat March 9, 2015 at 3:49 pm #

    My concern is not knowing what the real reason to get rid of homework is. Is the reason really to get rid of the homework and let the kids play (great PR move!) or is it to keep the parents in the dark as to what the kids are learning so that the parents don’t complain about Common Core anymore? Are they simply throwing the battle to win the war?
    Nowadays, you never know.

  78. Scott March 10, 2015 at 6:35 am #

    Another way for teachers to work less. I am beginning to wonder why we need them any longer. If I had a young child starting school now I am not sure why I would send them. I would home school or online. What parents need to do is band together and get the right to not pay tax if their child is not in the local school. Why pay the teachers to do less work?

  79. Juliette March 13, 2015 at 9:33 am #

    Well…it is not really a “no homework” school. I am the parent of a 4th and 5th grader and my kids have a huge package with “test-prep” that they have to do at home. According to the teachers, testprep is not considered to be homework! We also have to sign off on 45 min. reading a day and the kids have to turn in a Jot about what they read that day. Another interesting development is that when work is not completed during class, the kids have to finish it at home. The amount of work that the kids cannot finish in class, has gone skyhigh since the “homework” free school principle.

  80. Rebecca March 13, 2015 at 10:48 am #

    Ugh I wish my son’s school was like this he is in the 2nd grade and it is like I am going to school all over again his homework takes well over an hour each night.

    He has a reading log, math and his normal homework. I just found out that his teacher makes him run laps around the playground at recess if his reading log/homework sheets are not completed properly smh!